The Corner

Woolsey: Iran and Obama’s Choice

James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, tells NRO that the revelation of a second uranium enrichment site in Iran presents serious challenges to the Obama administration. “Since the top levels of the government in Iran are constituted of theocratic, totalitarian, and genocidal maniacs, it shouldn’t be too surprising that they also violate treaties and lie about their nuclear sites,” he says.

Today’s public disclosure of the second site, he says, “gives the United States a bit more leverage to get Russia and China into supporting slightly more effective sanctions.” Woolsey admits that establishing “really decisive” economic sanctions with Russia and China’s support will be difficult, since those two nations increasingly share “close business and commercial relationships with Iran.” Therefore, he says, “We are likely to find ourselves in a situation where unless we have done something extraordinary in terms of sanctions, then the world will be faced with a question: Will Israel or the United States use force or will they practice acquiescence in dealing with Iran having a nuclear weapon?”

“I’m not optimistic that either Russia or China will move far enough to establish a tough set of sanctions at the United Nations Security Council,” says Woolsey. “I also haven’t seen anything to suggest that the Obama administration will move very decisively on economic sanctions, either.” But, he adds, “I hope I’m wrong.”

“What I would consider ‘very decisive’ is if the White House or Congress said that any company that does any kind of business with an Iranian entity — not just the Revolutionary Guards, not just oil and gas companies, but any entity — can do no business with the United States government.”

Will the Obama administration take up Woolsey’s advice? “I’d love to believe so,” he says, “but I just don’t know. I’m certainly open to ideas.”

“If they do not do that or something equally tough, then they will have to decide later this year or sometime early next year whether they are going to actually make it be unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, or just verbally say it’s unacceptable, then accept it. If they don’t act very, very decisively, and very, very quickly with economic pressure, then they will have to make that choice.”

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Merciless Sympathy

Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**. Who will bell the cat? Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category ... Read More